Ford Focus Active | A Different A’Zur
When you think of the Cote de Azur, the first thing that comes to mind are the illustrious events it hosts, those palm-treed avenues and picturesque cays. The yachts ceremoniously docked in the famed marina, the Hollywood Elite lining the red carpet, humouring the paparazzi as they frequent the Cannes Film Festival. There’s champagne, seafood and glamour. There’s money, Casinos and super cars. And then there is its lavish landscape — a feature of which I was about to become better acquainted over the next couple of days.
The task that awaited me was a scavenger hunt, one that would encourage me to better know a region that I thought I knew, whilst also getting me acquainted with Ford’s latest hatchback, the Ford Focus Active. I’m not going to lie, it’s not a car I’d normally associate with the French Riviera, but then again, the order of the day was new experiences, and everything I’d heard about the car made sense. A crossover vehicle, with ample space — 50 mm longer wheelbase than entry model — visually it looked the part too, with the daylight LEDs giving the front form line an almost feline elegance, belying the car’s price-tag.
The scavenger hunt began in a sensible manner, a trip down the palm treed garnished roads of Nice, parallel to the coastline, with the glittering sea a constant distraction as was I forced to remind myself to focus on the road. This road led to the first task, a paddle boat slalom on the Ligurian sea.
Sea slalom complete and sea-salt garnished we returned back to the vehicle; the high-bolstered seats are trimmed with “Active” cloth meaning there was no hesitation to climb in regardless attire and state. Specifically designed for the adventure user, the fabric is extra durable with a Teflon-esque resistance to dirt whilst remaining pleasing to the eye.
As we made the steep climb up the Monegasque mountain towards the next stage of our scavenger hunt, I was pleasantly surprised by the Focus Active’s agility and balance, handling hairpin turns with minimum fuss, while taking the drama out of the ascent, with the gyroscopic chassis adjusting to the corners at each turn.
It wasn’t until I peered down the mountain on the cusp of my abseiling challenge — the next stage of the scavenger hunt — that I realised how truly high we had come, a fact that became ever clearer with each step I took down the mountain face.
Suitably pleased to be back on Terra-Firma, it was time to make our way back down to Nice as I piled my now dusty and salted corpus behind the wheel. The drive back was shrouded with stunning mountain views as the forgiving chassis allowed me to take in the sights with little discomfort or distraction as I meandered my way to our abode, Le Mas de Pierre.
I pulled into our Relais & Chateau home for the night to be greeted by the hotel’s own Rolls-Royce Ghost proudly parked facing me as I arrived at reception. I could almost imagine a cheeky smile on its face — tinged with jealousy — as he watched his sporty younger cousin return home from yet another adventure.
Different hues, different moods — and different tastes — certainly yes, but one thing is certain, in my experience, the Ford Focus Active had earned its right to be part of the Monegasque rotation; the adventure lifestyle adding yet another string to the Cote D’Azur’s bow.